Everett O’Keefe is a Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and International #1 Bestselling Author. The Power of the Published is his most recent solo work. He has also helped create and launch more than 100 bestselling books for his clients. Everett speaks across the nation on the power of publishing. He is the founder of Ignite Press, a hybrid publishing company that specializes in helping entrepreneurs, as well as business and medical professionals, ignite their businesses by becoming bestselling authors.
Everett is sought out as a speaker, coach, and consultant by authors and marketing experts worldwide. With a passion for entrepreneurialism, Everett helps his clients become recognized experts in their fields through speaking and authorship while allowing his clients to focus on their own areas of giftedness.
What You’ll Learn In This Episode
- About Ignite Press
- The Power of the Published
- The “Silver Bullet” of marketing
This transcript is machine transcribed by Sonix
Intro: [00:00:05] Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX studios in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s time for High Velocity radio.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:15] Lee Kantor here, another episode of High Velocity Radio, and this is going to be a good one. You better get your pad of paper and pencil ready because you’re going to learn a lot. And this is a very important subject today on high velocity radio, we have Everett O’Keefe and he is with Ignite Press. Welcome, Everett.
Everett O’Keefe: [00:00:34] Hey, welcome. Thank you. Thanks for having me.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:36] I am so excited to be talking to you. For those who aren’t familiar, tell us a little bit about Ignite Press. How are you serving folks?
Everett O’Keefe: [00:00:44] Yeah, so we’re a hybrid publisher. We really specialize in helping speakers, coaches, business consultants, medical and business professionals create books and launch them online so that they can enjoy the credibility and exposure and authority that comes with being an author.
Lee Kantor: [00:01:01] Now, how did this idea come about? Have you always been in the publishing business?
Everett O’Keefe: [00:01:07] Well, ironically, I would say I did an English degree in college and then promptly left the field to go into business and then got kind of came back around and found myself owning a marketing company. And we were exploring different ways to market our clients. When the idea of publishing a book came about, we decided to first try it on ourselves, guinea pig ourselves, like we do with new things and try to launch strategy that actually ended, ended up making our first book and Amazon number one best selling book for a period of time. And then we, the Guinea Pig Project caused our fees like we watched our fees double because it was attracting bigger and better clients. And, and then we went, gosh, maybe we should do this publishing thing for other people. And so here we are. We’ve been doing it now for about nine years now.
Lee Kantor: [00:02:01] What was that first moment that you thought, Hey, you know what, this is starting to get some traction. This is something that maybe we’ll be able to leverage and help other people get the same result.
Everett O’Keefe: [00:02:13] It really was the first book. I mean, the first book we were doing video marketing at the time. And so the book was about video marketing and not about publishing at all. But I’ll tell you, we had a couple of defining moments. One was the first time we saw, like, I’m sitting here looking at Amazon and our book goes live and I’m seeing myself on Amazon on the world’s biggest bookstore, and then on launch watching my book over the top of some of the people I really love, like over the top of John Maxwell and Annie Andrews and dominating the entrepreneur space, if only for a short time. And that’s when I realized just the feeling I was having that my goodness, are there are others? And then again we did the book on video marketing, but it was really just a test project, but it brought clients out of the woodwork. People like, oh gosh, I, you know, I heard about this book and we’d like to hire you. And, and that’s that’s when it became readily apparent, the authority that a book gives you, even if nobody knows who you are, the authority that a book gives you and your brand is really impossible to beat with almost any other marketing tool or method. So we thought, my goodness, if this does this for us, what will this do for others and how can we help make that happen?
Lee Kantor: [00:03:38] Now, when you decided to say, okay, we’re going to help other people publish books, you had to first write a book and then you had a publisher book. Do you help people on both of those tasks as part of your service, or is it something that they’re coming to you already with a manuscript that’s already ready to be published?
Everett O’Keefe: [00:03:58] We really can help clients in both arenas. Obviously, if they come to us with a manuscript that’s ready, then what we’ll do is take it through editing and layout and cover design and all the publishing pieces to make sure that that book is now on every basically every online media outlet. If they come to us and they really just know they need a book or would benefit from a book, then we have a couple of ways to help them. One is if they really want to write it organically, then we’ll connect them with a phenomenal book coach or ghostwriter, if that’s what they need. But very often people have that book within them, and especially for this authority piece, it can really be rapidly constructed around the facts of their business. I mean, you think about let’s take any take a medical professional or business professional. If you could sit down and in 10 minutes probably write out the questions that people ask you all the time about your brand and the ones that, you know, you can rattle them off because you do. You rattle them off all the time to your clients and prospects? Well, that rattling off can be done into an app which will transcribe those words so that that can be the rough foundation for your manuscript. And that’s really how we created our first book. We just sat down and went through the frequently asked questions of video marketing and put that into a book, and now we have that great authority piece. So it can be done very easily and very quickly, much more, much more rapidly than people understand.
Lee Kantor: [00:05:35] Right. Being an author is one of those kind of bucket list things for so many people. And they’re always in the process or thinking about writing a book that never gets written and they get overwhelmed, I think, by the just the task, it seems it seems impossible when they think of a book or they read a book and they’re like, Wow, that was 200 pages. That was 300. That was 500 pages. I don’t know how I’m going to write 500 pages. It seems overwhelming.
Everett O’Keefe: [00:06:01] Right?
Lee Kantor: [00:06:02] But if you have a system and a plan and you kind of, like you said, have a really good outline and you really understand what a book can be, you can kind of reframe it to be, Well, the book is your expertise. We’re just going to make sure it gets captured in a way that makes sense and is readable and it kind of protects your brand and also shares all that information that’s in your head.
Everett O’Keefe: [00:06:28] Yeah. And Lee, you are like, you’re so familiar with this and you understand that really what all that needs to happen is to capture a small portion of expertise into the form of a book, because people are immediately impacted when they know that you have a book. And whether that’s you putting it a copy in their hand or them seeing it online or seeing it’s available on your website, or of course, if you’re speaking and it gets packaged and we’re speaking, people are immediately moved. There’s a chapter in one of my books I wrote a book called The Power of the Published, and there’s a chapter in there just about the power of the unread book. I mean, you know, you think about it, it’s like if someone gives you a book, even if you don’t get to reading it right now, what will you do with it? Will you throw it away now?
Lee Kantor: [00:07:22] It’s on a shelf somewhere, right?
Everett O’Keefe: [00:07:24] It’s one of those things you’re like there’s like something like sacrilegious about throwing a book away, in fact. Right. So that book will hang around, whether it’s on your prospect’s nightstand or on their desk, it’ll hang around. And every time they see that book, it is screaming. Your credibility is screaming your authority. They know instantly you’re an expert on that subject, whether they crack the cover or not. It’s it’s really rather it’s really rather amazing.
Lee Kantor: [00:07:56] Now, has anything changed as kind of the media and reading and consuming content has evolved? You know, in a world where we have tick tock and there’s, you know, in 20, 30 seconds, people are sharing content. Is a book still something that does get kind of have that same kind of mindshare that it had, you know, five, ten, 20 years ago?
Everett O’Keefe: [00:08:24] Yeah, it’s a really good question. And especially like, for instance, when books shifted to like the when the Kindle was invented.
Lee Kantor: [00:08:32] Right. Our audio books now.
Everett O’Keefe: [00:08:34] Yeah. And audiobooks. So when Kindle was invented they thought paperback books would die and Kindle grew really quickly and has now plateaued is certainly did not knock off paper books and actually you just called it the fastest growing segment when it comes to publishing is actually audiobooks. It’s had double digit growth year, year over year for, I think the last eight years. And and what’s exciting I think about audiobooks is I think who listens to audiobooks? They tend to be the most educated and affluent and they’re exactly the person that most people want to attract into their business, depending upon their depending on their offering. Remember, remember the daily we used to talk about how iPhone users tended to be the most educated and affluent and that therefore you should be marketing to iPhone users. Well, now the iPhone is ubiquitous and I think audiobooks, quite frankly, has taken that has taken that place. But it is interesting this time it’s easier than ever to publish a book. And there are so many great tools and strategies available. It still maintains that mystique. It still maintains that it’s got this amazing credibility. I tell my authors, it’s like breathing rare air and they’re just so few authors out there. And that still holds true. Even even. Among the the streaming crowd. They’re still that authority. Whether they’re reading a ton of books now or not is another question, because I’m sure that that’s changing. But the authority is still there.
Lee Kantor: [00:10:15] Now, when we’re talking about publishing and writing books, are we talking primarily for Ignite press, nonfiction kind of business people, you know, sharing thought, leadership? Or are you also doing kind of some of this nonfiction? True crime, the other popular areas when it comes to books?
Everett O’Keefe: [00:10:36] Yeah, I mean, our specialty, we try to keep some pretty bright lines around what we do. And we definitely focus on nonfiction. Most of our clients are business and medical professionals or they’re directors of nonprofits. We actually have a number of pastors and other thought leaders, but we try to keep it in that we don’t wander off into into the fiction space. I think there’s enough there there’s enough romantic fiction on Amazon. We don’t really need to add to it.
Lee Kantor: [00:11:09] So you focus on business people using book for a business person, either a purpose to either get new clients to have that credibility, maybe to open up speaking opportunities or leveraging it in their marketing in some way.
Everett O’Keefe: [00:11:23] Yeah, but because I think that’s the best use scenario, the predictability of doing a book, for instance, to make royalties in any substantial amount. That’s really difficult, right? That’s like trying to catch lightning in a bottle, but utilizing a book to elevate a brand and convert prospects to clients, or to make clients better clients or to open up new doors. Those are all really predictable outcomes. We do find that we take on every now and then the odd memoir. But but really our bread and butter is working with nonfiction speakers, authors, coaches, consultants, business professionals.
Lee Kantor: [00:12:04] Now, can you share a story maybe where somebody came to you? Maybe they were skeptical. It sounded good. Maybe it sounded too good to be true. But then you work with them and you help them get the book out of their head into print, and then it moved their business to a new level.
Everett O’Keefe: [00:12:21] Yeah, actually, there’s. There was a client who came to us and maybe it’s not exactly that, that, that a case study or fact pattern you just describe it came to us and she had a manuscript and she said, I’m going to this conference. I’m thinking it would be great if I had this book available when I go to this conference that I’d get more credibility there. And she just went as and was going as an attendee and but she already had it. And she goes, Can you help miss out a really tight time schedule? We said, Sure, we’re doing it. She was going to Dubai and so we got her book done. We actually did an Amazon best seller launch on it. So before she went there, she actually had Amazon bestseller status. When she went there on the first day of the conference, she handed a few copies out to some key people that she wanted to meet. And later that night she was walking through the lobby and she happened to notice one of them sitting there reading her book and she goes, Wow, that’s really cool. I didn’t expect that. The next day she was approached by two of the people she had given books to who wanted to talk more about hiring her. It was a medical like a medical tourism conference, if I remember correctly. Long story short, she ended up getting two very high paying clients just because she put some books in a few people’s hands. And one of those clients turned around and the next year sponsored her to be one of the speakers at this international conference. In the meantime, she also was invited to contribute a chapter to a textbook in her industry. And so really for her, that book allowed her to go from basic anonymity to truly speaking on the world stage, and that she she says over and over again, that’s an opportunity that would not have been afforded to her had she not done the book.
Lee Kantor: [00:14:22] Yeah, it’s really amazing how being an author, it’s just a more authority to more influence. And it’s one of those things. The beauty of being an author is if you’re an author, once you’re an author forever, it’s not something like you have to kind of update your author license. It’s like you’re an author forever.
Everett O’Keefe: [00:14:45] That’s right. That’s right. And neither neither at least in this day and age, does the government regulate, you know, the fact that you’re an author and tell you whether you can or can’t be. That’s a that’s a great point. I think you speak to like you speaking to the durability of a book. You’re right, you create a book. It serves you for life. It’s not you know, I love video marketing, but one of the things about video marketing is that video you make today is stale relatively, relatively soon. Just because your hair changed or your voice changed or your brand changed or whatever. But the book can can be part of your brand and credibility forever. The other thing we love about it is you could put like, you know, our authors, their copies of their books usually cost them a few dollars, like literally a few dollars. And I think of you put a book in someone’s hand or you could put a nice branded mug in their hand or a branded pen or something like that. Well, which one’s still marketing for you years later? Just one of those.
Lee Kantor: [00:15:54] Right. And plus, not only it’s a constant reminder that you you’re smart and you know what you’re doing, because why else?
Everett O’Keefe: [00:16:01] And sometimes we need that, right?
Lee Kantor: [00:16:03] Well, I’m turned in terms of the person you handed the book to. It’s just, oh, you know, you needed that.
Everett O’Keefe: [00:16:09] We personally needed reminders.
Lee Kantor: [00:16:12] That to always but from a standpoint of what like I’m looking at a bookshelf right now and those, you know, one of the challenges in marketing is that kind of brand ubiquity of how do you get your name and brand in front of people just on a regular basis so they think of you or at the moment of purchase. And the book is a constant reminder that you’re an expert. So even if it’s sitting on someone’s shelf, it’s, it’s, it’s working for you in the sense that it’s reminding someone that you’re good at this thing, that you wrote your book about it.
Everett O’Keefe: [00:16:47] It just continues to scream expertise. And I think about it, Leigh, if someone reads your book, then you have that. You also get take advantage of mysterious power of a book. We talk about, like when I think of it when you watch television. Or a video or whatever, you just passively consuming content. But when you’re reading a book, you’re actively participating in it and usually having to fill in some details in your mind, right? It’s the same reason, for instance, like when we read The Lord of the Rings, it looked one way in our mind, and when we saw it in the movie theater, we thought, Wow, that’s pretty amazing. Not quite the way I thought. But, you know, movies are often more disappointing in the books because of that. I, I, I say that the author is constantly speaking and whispering in the ear of the reader and communicating to them in such an intimate and longform fashion that doesn’t exist in any other media.
Lee Kantor: [00:17:45] Yeah. And I think, I think that’s what the power of the audio book, because they literally are whispering in the ear.
Everett O’Keefe: [00:17:51] Yeah, that’s right.
Lee Kantor: [00:17:52] Of their, you know, of a prospect of somebody who’s interested in the topic that they’re an expert in. Now, I want to. For the benefit of the listeners, I’d like you to share a little bit of a kind of do it yourself for the listener who wants to attempt this on their own. What are some of the things they can be doing today to either get them ready to have a book published or, you know, actually publish it? Because this is something that you can kind of figure out on your own. It’s harder. It takes longer, but it’s definitely possible.
Everett O’Keefe: [00:18:27] Yeah, and I’m a huge fan of that. I’m a huge fan of self-publishing because I think that it like, let’s face it, traditional publishers have to tell a lot of wonderful people. No, I mean, for crying out loud, traditional publishers turn down the Harry Potter series like 20 plus times and told her that she’d be better off teaching. Like that happens all the time. And some of the best and best books ever have been turned down by publishers double digits of times anyway. So I think self-publishing is great as far as creating the manuscript. There are a lot of different models that can be done that one of writing the book around the frequently asked questions of your industry, I think is really valuable because an author can move through that quickly if they want to write things more organically, then there are some really wonderful training videos on YouTube. They’ll teach people how to chunk their content so that they can create it and organize it. And then, of course, you know your book, it needs to be well edited and few of us are capable of editing a book. Well, and sadly, if you miss this mark right, then no matter how good your content is, the reader won’t continue it. So there are a few areas where I definitely say hire out, you know, your, your, your English teacher from high school, maybe a great person and great at English, but they might not be a great book editor. So hire out your book editing. You may also consider hiring out your cover design, but you can do that. There’s some great tools online, like 99 designs or fiber, where you can have artists create your book covers layout, interior layout is can be accomplished with Microsoft Word.
Everett O’Keefe: [00:20:17] I mean, that’s how I did my first book or you can hire it out and some of those websites will also help you for hiring those pieces out and then publishing. There’s some really great tools out there. Amazon has a tool called Kindle Direct Publishing. We just call it CDP, and that is a way to get your book, whether it’s paperback or Kindle or now even hardcover, onto Amazon. The trick with anything, of course, is it’s always in the details. And with self publishing you get to make lots of decisions like margins and fonts and prices and colors or shades of gray, and you get to make a gazillion decisions. But also in self-publishing you have to make a gazillion decisions. So it’s right for some people and it’s not right for others. I tell people, look, if you’ve got more time than than than financial resources, self publishing may be exactly the way to go. If you don’t have a lot of time and you have more financial resources, it may make sense to get a professional in. I guess it’s kind of like if you do it yourself, you know, a project at that at your home, you know, you’ve got you’ve got more time than resources, by all means. Be, you know, do the remodel, put your new floor in or whatever it is. But sometimes you want to hire professionals and they both have a place and they’re both correct.
Lee Kantor: [00:21:46] Yeah. Sometimes you need help and sometimes you need to help her. And there’s no shame in either, you know.
Everett O’Keefe: [00:21:52] Great point. Great point.
Lee Kantor: [00:21:54] So if somebody wants to learn more about Ignite Press, maybe connect with you. I know there’s a ton of resources on the website for. An author or an aspiring author. Can you share the website?
Everett O’Keefe: [00:22:08] Yeah. So our website is Ignite Press US, not dotcom, but Ignite Press US. And if you if people go there, one thing that they can do is schedule a book consultation directly with me, happy to talk with them about their book and see where that leads. And I’m, you know, whether you’re likely to be a great client, you know, like you fit our model or not. I’m going to spend some time trying to help you and get you pointed in the right direction. So that’s Ignite press us.
Lee Kantor: [00:22:39] Well, Everett, thank you so much for sharing your story today, doing important work. And we appreciate you.
Everett O’Keefe: [00:22:45] Lee I’m grateful for the time here and thank you for what you are doing to help share stories and educate people. You know, you’re you’re doing amazing things to help people get their message out.
Lee Kantor: [00:22:58] Thank you. Well, this is Lee Kantor. We’ll see you next time on High Velocity Radio.